Portland’s insurrectionists are more numerous, organized and energized as a result of President Trump’s surge of federal law enforcement into the city, now on day fifty-something of the Siege of Soros, but who’s counting.
Contrary to Trump’s claim, they have not restored order and haven’t done–not necessarily their fault–a fine job. In fact at this point he’s only managed to place the feds in the same untenable position the police they’ve come to relieve were in before–the force they need to use is used against them immediately, and so far quite effectively, by treacherous media and political leaders presenting them as military atrocities to a benighted public.
Trump and the poor grunts of federal law enforcement have acquired their own Vietnam. No, Johnny Rambo, you don’t get to win this time either.
After introducing harsher riot control measures–lots of tear gas and various munitions–on the first two nights and putting antifa on their heels, the feds have retreated to their fortified courthouse. They are now pursuing the same strategy of the police earlier, ceding the streets and only clearing rioters when their physical attacks on the building get out of hand, as when they try to set the plywood fortifications on fire. Last night they managed to pull away a large section of plywood framing and start in on the exposed (but impressively sturdy) glass underneath.
Today concrete blocks are going up and welders are fusing together heavier fencing in an attempt to stop antifa from dismantling it and barricading the doors, as has become routine. The city recaptured the three affected park blocks last week, declaring them closed for repairs and fencing them off with chain link fencing that is easily removable in sections. At the same time Portland police were being withdrawn from the streets–and abandoning the feds to antifa outfitted with the mobile siege barriers they’ve made of the dismantled fencing, and invigorated by the victory of recapturing their after-dark autonomous zone.
The Portland Police Bureau has been forbidden from communicating with the feds, and a controversy is brewing over a violation of that after the revelation an office of the PPB has been communicating with the feds next door. Longtime progressive anti-cop activist Jo Ann Hardesty is applying it to her effort to gain control of the police bureau (the mayor serves as commissioner now, but it’s not clear what that means). No one locally is questioning the extraordinary (unprecedented?) move of isolating the feds.
With the new front opened, now against Trump’s putative brownshirts, antifa continues to show improvement in organization and tactics. Nightly now their teams of bikes–motorcycles, bicycles, scooters–move in rapid response teams to blockade streets and observers are stationed on the perimeter of the three-block radius antifa now claims nightly with impunity. Their autonomy is only disturbed by riot police after they’ve managed, after much effort, to draw the “pigs” out of their fort by setting fires and barricades and trying to break inside.
Journalists enjoy some protections from arrest and dispersal (last night I watched one of the antifa livestreamers unmolested behind federal lines as they cleared out Lownsdale Square; agents escorted her out at her request after she became nervous) as a result of a restraining order granted by a liberal federal judge and ally from within the besieged walls of the courthouse. But any journalist on the ground identified as unallied or suspect is immediately set upon by the crowd. One was beaten last night.
Last night, antifa black bloc militants beat up a pro-Black Lives Matter photographer accused of communicating with Portland Police. In the past seven weeks, several people with cameras have been assaulted while covering the riots. https://t.co/76o7manECa
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 22, 2020
Another beating for unknown reasons left someone knocked out on the street. The cries of those around suggest it was a woman:
Portland’s coup-complicit local journalists are glorying in their role and the national attention. “Portland journalists are killing it” one enthused after promoting another local going on national television.
My life is reporting on beautiful block parties until the feds turn it into a warzone and then it’s taking footage of war on and off for hours until we’re back to reporting on drum circles in the park and free food. What. Is. This. Life.
— Griffin – Live from the Justice Center (@GriffinMalone6) July 20, 2020
.@brianstelter on the riots in Portland: “Right-wing media ramped up its coverage of scattered unrest in Portland, Oregon…Evidently a small group of self-described anarchists suddenly deserved national news coverage.” pic.twitter.com/ZKsrWZ6Uez
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) July 20, 2020
So far the narrative holds and they continue to win.